Missing in Action

Well hello there! It has been so long since I've written anything I almost don't know where to begin. I think when I last checked in Jason and I were planning our trip to Germany.

We made it there and back without any issues and only some minor harassing regarding my water-logged passport. I can confirm that the German customs agents can be very scary and intimidating. It was an amazing week that Jason and I enjoyed so much (even if he did have to work for part of it.) We did so much and Cologne is a beautiful city that I would suggest you visit if you ever get the chance.

Cologne is located right on the Rhine river and as you come into town on the train the first thing you see is the Dom Cathedral. It is breathtaking. It is one of the oldest and largest cathedrals in Germany and is what Cologne is known for (well, besides Eau De Cologne...the birth place of cologne!) The city is full of amazing history including how the entire area was bombed and destroyed during WWII, except for the Dom. It was used as a beacon all lit up in the sky so the allies would know where to bomb. They destroyed the city but never bombed the cathedral.

Looking down the aisle in the Dom.

It really was incredible to visit and our hotel was right around the corner so I spent every morning having a coffee overlooking the cathedral. It is free and open to the public and although it has thousands of visitors walking in and out all day, it has a stillness you'd expect to find in a church. I found myself sitting in a pew almost daily just enjoying the peacefulness and craftsmanship found inside. There are no words to describe it and these photos don't do it justice. I am so thankful I was able to experience it.

I walked for hours each day enjoying the city, taking in the sights and the river, the hustle and bustle of it all. The people were incredibly friendly and I hope I get the chance to visit Germany again. I ate a lot of pretzels and strudel while Jason enjoyed the sausage and Kolsch beer (his new favorite!)

One of the traditions is to "lock up your love" on the bridge that crosses the Rhine. You put a padlock on the fence and then throw the key into the river. I know this is done in London and Paris as well. I walked this bridge almost daily and loved looking at the locks. Jason and I bought a small lock and locked it up on our last day there.

It was a wonderful week away and by the end of our trip we were anxious to get home to see the boys and honestly, I couldn't eat another pretzel and still zip my jeans!

Germany wrapped up our September and then we were full swing into October. We still had baseball, hockey and flag football seasons to finish up so Fall was busier than ever. Work in a trip to the pumpkin farm and regular work / life stuff and the month literally slipped away.

October ended on a sad note as I learned of a little girl whose journey I was following had passed away from brain cancer. Gabriella Miller was 10 years old and she is the niece of one of my friends / parent at our school. I had been following Bri's story since I learned of her diagnosis from my friend last November. She did amazing things in the year after she learned of her inoperable tumor and fought until her last days to make a change in pediatric caner research. I urge you to visit smashingwalnuts.org to learn more about Gabriella and how we all can help make a change. This incredible girl deserves to have us all continue this fight, she was inspirational.

The hard part, besides learning that a 10 year old has died, is that anyone who knows me knows I don't easily process things like this (not that anyone does.) I had a rough week trying to work through why things like this happen and trying to logically talk myself into understanding that just because bad things often happen, it doesn't mean they are going to happen to me or my family. I just can't help but think that this could be my life. I know I should focus on how blessed I am to have healthy children but I just keep thinking about Gabriella and her parents and know that this could happen to me, or you. No one is off limits, unfortunately. It is a hard lesson to learn and has reminded me to be thankful for all I have. I am trying to work through my anxiety and to not literally panic at the thought of such a loss. For me, this is easier said than done.

The boys were super excited for Halloween and although we had rainy weather they trick-or-treated until they were soaked to the bone. I would love to show you pictures of Jack as Jason the psycho killer from Friday the 13th or Joey as a ninja, but I didn't get a single picture. It was pouring and they were rushing to get out the door with their friends and I was lucky I even caught up with them at all. I missed the opportunity and by the time we got home they were too wet and cold to even consider taking a picture. Take my word for it, they were creepy and ninja-like! I am enjoying the candy that they worked so hard for.

I am happy we are into November and I'm  looking forward to some family time in the coming holiday season. Tis the season to be thankful!


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